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Only established operators wanted for capital’s trial


24 July 2020

Transport for London wants to appoint only established operators for  e-scooter trials in London. TfL is to lead the procurement of schemes in the capital. A market sounding questionnaire says it will be looking to work with “established e-scooter operators who have proven experience in other cities”.

A TfL spokeswoman this week told LTT that the procurement of operators had yet to commence. It is also not yet clear if a single scheme or a number of sub-regional schemes will be procured. She said the intention was to have scheme(s) running before the end of August, in keeping with the Government’s target (LTT 10 Jul).

TfL, London Councils and boroughs have developed safety criteria to help select operators. Paulius Mackela, London Councils’ principal policy and project officer, told the transport and environment committee last week: “There are a range of safety features now available in the market such as different wheel sizes, brake types, geofencing options to ensure lower speeds in specific areas, automatic ‘fallen over alerts’ and integrated helmets,”  

Participating boroughs will be responsible for matters such as authorising parking areas, setting ‘no-go’, ‘go-slow’ zones.

Mackela said numerous prospective operators had indicated that they would expect to pay fees to participate in a trial, as they do to operate in other cities around the world. “London Councils’ officers are working together with TfL and all borough officers to understand funding requirements. Fees from operators could enable boroughs to fund the creation of parking areas and other infrastructure requirements, and cover associated administrative costs.”

Some boroughs have declined to participate in the trials, among them Waltham Forest and Lewisham.  

Clyde Loakes, Waltham Forest’s deputy leader, told LTT: “Waltham Forest has successfully taken the lead and been at the forefront of many innovative active travel developments in London over the last five years. 

“We are continuing to do that by delivering and improving the much-needed infrastructure and priority for pedestrians and cyclists – the longstanding and successful modes of active travel – such as low traffic neighbourhoods and safe, segregated cycle lanes. 

“We’re therefore happy to allow others to take the lead on e-scooters, which we know still have significant issues to overcome and concerns to address, before we would consider them a valid and legitimate mode of transportation.”

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